Purdue Northwest Graduation Feature: Taking Advantage of Opportunities Pushed Wheatfield Student to Excel
Jennifer Sobierajski implemented a relatively simple strategy to succeed at Purdue University Northwest: take advantage of all opportunities, learn from each one and strive for excellence.
For the 22-year-old Wheatfield resident who graduates Saturday (5/6—3 p.m.) with a baccalaureate degree in computer science and minors in Spanish, psychology and applied mathematics—mission accomplished.
During her four-year experience at PNW, she has taken advantage of many opportunities. She has been a peer mentor, studied in the university’s Honors College, interned with the Indiana-Illinois Sea Grant Program office on campus, competed on the PNW women’s soccer team and served as president of the university’s chapter of the National Residence Hall Honorary.
Favorable learning environment
By her own admission, she was a quiet, hard-working, unassuming student at Kankakee Valley High School. Her decision to attend Purdue Northwest, where she looked forward to a learning environment of relatively small class sizes, exposed her to that and much more.
“I made very good friends on campus who motivated me by their effort and desire to be the best they could be,” she said. “They are people who got involved, and that motivated me to get involved through leadership roles and unique experiences, like studying abroad in Spain to improve my Spanish speaking skills.”
Her two years on the PNW women’s soccer team produced lasting friendships and contributed to her competitiveness. Though academic conflicts with soccer prompted her to discontinue an athletic experience she had enjoyed since she was 3-years-old, she took advantage of other opportunities.
“Being in the Honors College pushed me in different learning ways and to become more involved in volunteering,” she said. “When I started interning in the Sea Grant Program office, I didn’t know how to design a web page, but when I was asked to do one, I learned. I knew if I got involved on campus and did the best I could, it would help me get a good job.”
That opportunity came knocking when her academic advisor, William Baginski, informed her about a job recruiting visit General Electric planned at Purdue Northwest. Sobierajski attended and wound up being offered a position in the Edison Engineering Development Program of GE’s Transportation Division.
Job awaits her
“I’ll be part of a problem-solving engineering team,” she said of the work she begins July 10. “I love programming and troubleshooting; it’s an amazing feeling to figure out a way to do something or solve a problem on the computer.”
In Baginski’s words, “Jennifer has embraced and taken full advantage of her college experience and opportunities at PNW. She has excelled in her academics; she has been engaged on campus; and her work has been rewarded.”
Dean of the Honors College John Rowan added, “Jen is a wonderful example of the type of student we are attracting to Purdue Northwest—a complete student with the academic success to go along with extracurricular endeavors. It therefore does not surprise me she received a prestigious job offer to be in the Edison Engineering Development Program at GE.”
Reflecting on her personal growth and development at PNW, she said, “These have been probably the best years of my life because of the amazing experiences I’ve had.”
Purdue University Northwest
Purdue University Northwest (PNW), a comprehensive regional university within the Purdue University system, has two Northwest Indiana campuses in Hammond and Westville. With more than 15,000 students enrolled last fall and nearly 70 undergraduate and graduate degree programs, Purdue Northwest is Indiana’s fifth largest public university.